This past Labor Day weekend, I wanted to drive around North Texas and find interesting photographic subjects. By chance, I found a website for CARE – Center for Animal Research and Education, a refuge for big cats just outside a small town of Bridgeport, TX. Having heard of a few similar places in the area, I expected a few tigers, maybe a couple of bobcats, and not much more. Once I got there, I was stunned to find more than 50 big cats, most of them gorgeous tigers, like Sydney here.

Sydney, age 7

It was a slightly cool morning compared to the heat waves we’ve had the past month or so. Most of the cats were out and about, and the host, Derek, played around lovingly with each of them as he was showing us around. Sydney was on a platform in her enclosure, and when I first saw her, she was in the middle of a sleepy stretch which you can see below. Shortly thereafter, she perked up and assumed this regal pose you see in the main photo. Truly a gorgeous cat, and according to the CARE web site, she’s available for adoption. They also accept donations… Hint: tigers love chicken.

Sydney, stretching

Since I now shoot JPG, it was a bit of a challenge to nail down the white balance on the shot. Straight out of the camera, it looked very blue because my Canon 7D probably got confused with the warm shadow of the foreground with the cooler light seeping in from outside. My friend Tyler taught me this interesting Photoshop technique (too elaborate to go into here), so I managed to warm up the beautiful oranges on Sydney.

In the coming days, I’ll post a few more shots of beautiful cats from CARE. Until then, get on over to their web site and donate a few bucks or simply volunteer. The cats will love it.